Oakland Mills' `Footloose' relies on clear, powerful vocals


Howard Live

Arts and entertainment in Howard County

April 22, 2005|By Alison Murphy | Alison Murphy,GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL

No movies, no music and no dancing? We're not in Chicago anymore, Toto. No, it's the oppressive town of Bomont in the 1980s in Oakland Mills High School's production last weekend of Footloose.

Ren McCormack (Jimmy Foy), a Chicago boy, experiences culture shock when moving to the small town of Bomont. After his father walks out, Ren and his mother, Ethel (Lauren Fox), are forced to live with his Uncle Wes (Evan Stuart) and Aunt Lulu (Suzy Lamb), but Ren soon finds that the city is very different from the country town.

Bomont lives in the shadow of an accident that happened years before. After a car crash killed four Bomont teenagers coming home from a dance, dancing was banned within the town's limits. As the father of one of the boys who died, the Rev. Shaw Moore (Justin Tepe) uses his spiritual and moral influence in Bomont to enforce the ban, controlling everyone in town except his daughter, Ariel (Christina Toner).

Toner's rebellious attitude and natural grace onstage allowed her to portray this mature character with ease. Her character, Ariel, tries everything to upset her father, from breaking curfew to dating boys such as high school dropout Chuck Cranston (Alex Williams). Toner's beautiful voice shines through in numbers such as "Holding out for a Hero." Ariel is attracted to trouble, exactly what the new boy, Ren, seems to offer.

Ren and his new friend, Willard, set out to change the town and campaign to hold a dance. Kevin Pie, who portrays Willard, had a naivete about him, sending the audience into hysterics with his hilarious rendition of "Mama Says." After Ren shows off his dance moves with an attractive girl (Jessica Villamor), Willard finally learns how to dance in "Let's Hear it for the Boys," which Catherine Stephens sings powerfully.

From the harmonies of the female quartet with Rusty (Elizabeth Stephens), Urleen (Catherine Stephens), Wendy Jo (Elana Burgess) and Tina Mae (Tina Shin), to the clean and coordinated musical numbers, to the professional-caliber vocal power of the entire cast, we dared to dream, dared to dance and cut footloose!

Alison Murphy, a senior at Glenelg Country, reviewed "Footloose" for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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